RESPONSE TO THE DFAIT
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
DISCUSSION PAPER OF MAY 2000
TO: Trade Negotiations Consultations
Trade Policy Consultations and Liaison Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
BY: Craig Forcese
Faculty of Law,
University of Ottawa
57 Louis Pasteur St.
P.O. Box 450, Stn. A
Ottawa K1N 6N5
Tel: (613) 562-5800
Fax: (613) 562-5124
Business & Human Rights Project,
Canadian Lawyers Association
for International Human Rights
ON BEHALF OF:
Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)
DATE: June 7, 2000
The DFAIT Corporate Social
Responsibility Discussion Paper sets out a number of questions.
The submissions that follow represent the CLAIHR Business and Human
Rights Project response to each query. Given
our mandate, we confine our comments to the human and labour rights dimension of
corporate social responsibility. Our position on many of these issues is set out
in several other documents that have been submitted to the Department, including
Proposal: Ensuring that the Special Economic Measures Act
is a tool that may be used in responding to Canadian corporate complicity with
"grave breaches of human rights and human security";
Options available to the Government of Canada in responding to Canadian
corporate complicity with human rights abuses;
to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Review of the OECD
Guidelines For Multinational Enterprises.
Material contained in these documents is only partially repeated here.
Additional copies of these papers are available upon request.
What is the significance for business operations of having an industry-wide or
country-specific company code? Are these mechanisms helpful and/or useful in
terms of actual operations on the ground?
It is trite to say that over the last decade there has been a
proliferation of company codes of conduct dealing with a variety of issues. Some
estimates suggesting that upwards of 85% of large US companies have codes of
Fewer companies have codes dealing with the human rights implications of
their overseas operations. In a
1996 survey of 150 US multinational corporations in sectors deemed likely to
have supplier codes, San Francisco-based Business for Social Responsibility
found that 25 firms had human rights codes.[ii]
Another survey by Boston-based Franklin Research and Development found that
roughly 10% of US multinationals had overseas human rights guidelines.[iii]
A more comprehensive survey on the child labour practices of US retailers and
textile manufacturers by the US Department of Labor in 1996 revealed that of 42
major textile retailers and manufacturers surveyed and willing to make public
their responses, 36 had adopted some form of policy specifically prohibiting the
use of child labour in overseas production facilities. Two of the respondents
also had country human rights guidelines that they used to determine in which
countries they would invest.[iv] Finally,
a content analysis of a 1998 International Sourcing Report from the New
York-based Council on Economic Priorities surveying prominent US corporations,
suggests that 80 of the 145 responding businesses had codes of conduct
containing labour rights standards.[v]
The proportion of corporations in Canada that have some sort of corporate
code of conduct is also high. Accounting
firm KPMG, in a survey published in 2000, found that 86.4% of respondents in a
survey of Canada's largest 1,000 companies "have
a document that outlines their values and principles."[vi]
However, a 1996 survey of the 98 largest
Canadian businesses operating internationally suggested that relatively few
Canadian companies have codes of conduct dealing with the human rights impacts
of their overseas operations. While
49% of the respondent companies reported possessing international codes of
conduct, only 32% had codes containing some of the core labour rights, while
only 14% had codes containing all the core labour rights.
Similarly, only 14% had any sort of provision touching on business
relations with repressive regimes.[vii]
The more recent KMPG survey contained broadly similar results.[viii]
As the DFAIT discussion paper correctly notes,
there is a sharp debate regarding the effectiveness of codes.
The dilemma implicit in the use of corporate codes of conduct as means of
promoting human rights is illustrated by the example of South Africa. In 1977,
the Reverend Leon Sullivan, a member of the General Motors board of directors,
proposed the Sullivan Principles dealing with the behaviour of US corporations
in South Africa. The Principles outlined a code of conduct designed to allow US
corporations to operate in South Africa without partaking in the systematic
human rights abuses characteristic of the apartheid regime.
Many observers feel that firms generally did a good job abiding by the
However, the success of the codes stemmed not so much from the altruism or
social responsibility of the corporations as from the realization that the
alternative to the code was full-scale economic sanctions. Corporations were
also motivated by potent shareholder pressure from large public pension funds
and constraints imposed by US state and municipal governments on procurement
from businesses operating in South Africa.[x] In the absence of these "big sticks,"
adherence to the Principles may well have been less marked.
Critics contend that most modern human rights codes have been introduced
by corporations, not so much in response to a management commitment to corporate
social responsibility, but largely in reaction to external pressures.[xi] These pressures include developments in trade
law, including the introduction by the United States of a series of unilateral
measures protecting worker rights.[xii]
Other developments in this area include the labour rights regime under the NAFTA
side agreement and the (now diminished) prospect of linkages between trade and
labour rights at the WTO.[xiii] Litigation
in US courts stemming from violations of human rights abroad has also served as
an incentive to adopt codes.[xiv]
Further, pressure for corporate social responsibility from consumers, whether
private or institutional, has become more marked, particularly in the retail
as have demands from shareholders and investors.[xvi]
These observations regarding the importance of external pressures in
inducing appropriate corporate behaviour are echoed in a March 1998 report from
Canada's department of industry. Discussing conditions conducive to successful
code development, the report notes that
[w]hile codes are voluntary -- firms are not
legislatively required to develop or adhere to them -- the term 'voluntary' is
something of a misnomer. Voluntary
codes are usually a response to the real or perceived threat of a new law,
regulation or trade sanctions, competitive pressures or opportunities, or
consumer and other market or public pressures...[O]nce the code is in place, the
initial pressure that led to its creation may dissipate, which could cause
compliance among adherents to taper off.[xvii]
The 1998 Industry Canada study urged that
"voluntary codes that are well designed and properly implemented can help
achieve public-interest goals...However, a code that is poorly designed,
improperly implemented, or used in inappropriate circumstances, can actually
harm both its proponents and the public."[xviii] As noted by other observers, a code of
conduct "is not a corporate compliance program -- it is only part of it,
and maybe not even the more important part of a corporate compliance
a consequence, "the existence of a formal written corporate code of conduct
is evidence that a company has begun a process of instituting a self-regulation
program, but it is not conclusive evidence that the process has been completed
or that it is effective."[xx]
Clearly, monitoring of a code is required to ensure compliance.
In 1996, in its study of corporate codes dealing with child labour, the
US Department of Labor noted that "a credible system of monitoring -- to
verify that a code is indeed being followed in practice -- is essential".[xxi]
However, relatively few corporations have codes that provide for reliable
monitoring, let along the independent audits widely viewed by human rights
groups as a key aspect of long-term code effectiveness.[xxii]
As the Department of Labor put it, "most of the codes of the respondents do
not contain detailed provisions for monitoring and implementation, and many of
these companies do not have a reliable monitoring system in place."[xxiii]
Overseas investigation by the Department revealed that "[w]hile monitoring
for product quality, and even for health and safety conditions, is customary in
the garment industry, the field visits by Department of Labor officials suggest
that monitoring for compliance with provisions of the codes of conduct of U.S.
garment importers dealing with other labour standards — and child labour in
particular — is not."[xxiv]
Where there is monitoring "there seems to be relatively little interaction
between, on the one hand, monitors, and on the other hand, workers and the local
community. It also appears that monitors have a technical background in
production and quality control and are relatively untrained with regard to
implementation of labor standards."[xxv]
More recently, the 1998 Council on Economic Priorities report noted above
suggests that only 1/3 of the companies with sourcing codes included language in
their codes concerning monitoring. If
past patterns are any indication, even fewer of these companies rely on
independent monitoring. In Canada, meanwhile, only 14% of the respondent firms
in the 1996 survey reported use of independent monitors, while the 2000 KPMG
survey suggests that even where companies include labour rights in their codes,
few actively monitor these rights.[xxvi]
Given these findings, while voluntary codes of
conduct represent one popular approach to overseas human rights concerns, a
poorly drafted and implemented code of conduct is, at best, useless and, at
worst, counterproductive insofar as it gives the appearance of action where none
has been taken. Notably, in
part because of the pressure/response mode of code development and because of
the expense and technical difficulty in developing the independent monitoring
necessary to render these codes credible, "claims about the transformative
potential of private initiatives may be overstated."[xxvii] If,
as the research cited above suggests, codes are successful to the extent that
the external pressures are strong, then the development and effective
implementation of codes will continue to be dependent on the glare of publicity
and will disproportionately affect companies with a image and reputation to
protect, particularly those in the consumer goods sector.
Maintaining and broadening the spotlight on the multitude of companies,
and ensuring adherence to codes, will tax the limited resources of human rights
and labour groups, effectively rendering many companies immune from scrutiny.
Further, given the present preoccupation with corporate codes of conduct,
some concern may be expressed that a focus on such voluntary measures will take
pressure off governments to work towards more systematic means of encouraging
respect for international human rights, such as linkages between trade and human
rights. Relying on the existence of
codes to justify a failure to take more binding action would be problematic for
two reasons. First, any view on the
part of policy makers that codes represent a replacement for mandatory measures
ignores the fact that codes are generally developed as a response to external
pressures. Second, as was noted
recently by a European Parliament Rapporteur on codes of conduct, "[v]oluntary
regulation can do a great deal to promote better practice, but the worst
offences will only ever be prevented through national and international laws and
binding rules. Such systems can operate in parallel: binding rules to ensure
minimum standards and voluntary initiatives to promote higher standards."[xxviii]
Thus, at best voluntary codes represent a partial solution.
Should the federal government take the lead in initiating policies which would
make the observance of certain CSR guidelines a condition for business
participation in government-initiated activities such as Team Canada visits,
It follows from the discussion above that a
key inducement for corporations to adopt and abide by codes of conduct involves
what Industry Canada calls "pressures for code development".
Government conditionalities are a key pressure.
At present, however, the Government of Canada does not condition access
to the many services it provides business on adequate CSR behaviour.
To put it bluntly, repeated calls by the government for Canadian
corporate responsibility -- for example, Minister Axworthy's comments on
Talisman Energy -- lack credibility if the Government of Canada is unprepared to
put its programs where its policy assertions are.
As the Department is aware, the Standing
Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has noted that the government "provides
extensive trade and overseas investment promotion services, including the
granting of invitations on Team Canada trade missions, without first assessing
the company's human rights record".[xxix] The
Committee has recommended that "[i]n order to ensure that Canadian public
funds are being spent in a manner that complements Canadian values, the
provision of federal assistance to support commercial activity should be made
conditional on adherence to the minimum international standard for human
this regard, the Standing Committee cited with approval a recommendation made by
Laws should be promulgated (a) conditioning
government procurement on adherence by firms to country guidelines and core
labour rights in their overseas operations; (b) conditioning financial and
investment support contributions by government agencies, including the Export
Development Corporation and CIDA, on adherence by firms to country guidelines
and core labour rights in their overseas operations; and (c) requiring that
adherence to these [standards] be assessed with reference to independently
Unfortunately, the government has thusfar rejected any efforts to impose
a formal human rights screen on financial support extended to companies by the
government-owned Export Development Corporation[xxxii]
and has not moved on any of the other proposals noted by the Senate, even though
doing so would, in the words of the Committee, "mesh well" with the
government's endorsement of voluntary codes of conduct.
In addition, at present, a window of
opportunity exists for government to amend Canada's federal corporate law to
facilitate shareholder activism on corporate social responsibility matters.
Section 137 of the Canada Business
Corporations Act allows management to reject proposals on a number of
grounds. Most important from the human rights perspective: the proposal can be
rejected where it clearly appears (to management) that the proposal is being
submitted primarily for the purposes of promoting general economic, political,
racial, religious, social or similar causes.
These terms provide enormous discretion to management to exclude
shareholder proposals dealing with social responsibility matters.
In fact, the section effectively bars shareholders from expressing
concern on social responsibility issues, including human rights, unless the
proposal is strongly couched in language dealing with more traditional business
matters. Even then, nothing stops management from abusing the section to avoid
proposals questioning the business impacts of poor human rights behaviour.
Companies often do not hesitate in rejecting
proposals, including those relating to human rights matters.
In February 1999, 11 churches and religious orders from Canada and the US
submitted shareholder proposals to Talisman Energy.
This proposal asked the Board to assure shareholders that the company was
not materially aiding the Sudanese government in its civil war in that country
nor in its repeated violations of internationally accepted standards of human
rights. The company was also asked to prepare an independently
verified report of its compliance with this commitment. On February 2, 1999, Talisman rejected the proposal on
two grounds. One of these grounds
was an allegation that the proposal clearly appeared to be submitted primarily
for the purpose of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious,
social or similar causes, despite the clear business implications of operating
in the midst of a civil war.
Unfortunately, the amendments to the Canada
Business Corporations Act recently tabled as Bill S-19 do little to
eliminate the present bar on ethical shareholder activism and in fact, in net,
further restrict the important shareholder proposal process.
The bottom line is that while Minister Axworthy calls upon companies like
Talisman to act responsibly, the company's owners may be precluded by Canada's
corporate law from doing the same.
In sum, if the Government of Canada is committed to promoting adequate
behaviour by Canada's corporations operating internationally, it must strive for
greater policy coherence. Given
this discussion, any endorsement by the Canadian Government of voluntary codes
must, first, be of well-drafted codes containing a series of clear standards.
Given past experience with poorly implemented codes, only codes that contain
some measure of independent and credible monitoring are worthy of endorsement.
Third, any code endorsement undertaken by the Government should be
complemented with measures creating what the federal industry department calls
"conditions conducive to successful code development"; namely,
"pressures for code development". Taking the steps recommended by the Standing Senate Committee
in the section above would undoubtedly constitute important pressures for code
development, as would liberalizing the restrictions on ethical shareholder
activism extant in the present federal corporate law. Finally, as is discussed
below, given the shortcomings of voluntary measures as an overarching regulatory
tool, the present Government fondness for codes should in no way detract from a
more aggressive Canadian policy favouring a multilateral linkage between trade
CSR considerations be included in trade negotiations and/or agreements?
As is noted above, voluntary codes represent only a partial solution. Despite the increasing number of such codes, they remain most
prevalent in large, image-sensitive firms.
Achieving forward progress on issues such as international labour
standards will require more than sporadic, usually media and consumer-driven,
corporate responsibility by a handful of large Western companies.
In the absence of common, universally enforceable standards, there will
always be defectors who undercut responsible norms in search of a competitive
advantage. In the context of labour rights, as labour represents an important,
if declining, cost of production, there may be strong incentives for companies
and countries to compete by debasing even minimal international labour
OECD, in a 1996 study, found "evidence that some governments felt that
restricting certain core labour standards would help attract inward FDI [foreign
In addition, the OECD has conceded that some firms may in fact respond to
the cost advantages of repression. The OECD notes that "in a number
of...countries which are among the primary destination for OECD investment, the
record of compliance with core labour standards is tarnished, particularly with
respect to freedom-of-association rights, although to different degrees."[xxxv] According
to the OECD, "there is no definitive evidence on the extent to which FDI
responds to the level of core labour standards."[xxxvi]
In fact, "low or non-existent labour standards may have a detrimental
effect on FDI decisions. They
indicate a risk of future social discontent and unrest, and include the risk of
However, "it is readily admitted that expectations of high
profitability due to the economic environment provided in host countries may be
able to outweigh some of the concerns foreign investors [have] about low levels
of observance of core labour standard by host government[s]."[xxxviii]
Further, while the OECD was not able to identify what impacts
multinationals have on core labour rights, it did note that multinationals
employ most of the workers in the world's export processing zones (EPZs). As
such, "the radically lower degree of unionization in EPZs in comparison
with the domestic economy as a whole could suggest that [multinational
businesses] do not contribute to the improvement of the practical situation of
unions"[xxxix] and, one might infer from other practices in
these zones, [xl] of labour rights generally. This conclusion,
coupled with the rash of recent controversies related to poor labour practices
by suppliers for major Western firms operating overseas,[xli]
suggest that the common approach of many businesses to core labour standards is
strongly inconsistent with corporate social responsibility.
At present, establishing a common, enforceable
baseline for labour and other corporate social responsibility standards is
possible only through a formal linkage of trade and CSR.
As a final point, a trade regime that regulates the circulation of goods
produced via pirated technologies, but that views as outside of its competence
the regulation of trade in goods produced under conditions violating
international human rights law, lacks all credibility.
6. Are there particular advantages to international versus national,
sectoral and/or individual business approaches to CSR ? Should the federal
government be working with international organizations to develop voluntary
codes of conduct for business that can be promoted internationally?
Establishing international benchmarks to which all countries should abide
is always preferable to the articulation of strictly national standards.
For this reason, in the area of social responsibility that most concerns
CLAIHR, it will always be preferable to refer to international human rights and
labour standards than to some amorphous concept of "Canadian values".
On the other hand, seeking a multilateral consensus should not preclude
unilateral action. As it stands,
Canada lags far behind the United States and the United Kingdom in its work on
is the role of other partners and stakeholders in CSR initiatives? Is there a
useful role for government in fostering business-public interest partnerships?
Nothing bars government from acting as a facilitator.
However, the more important role for government is to act as an "inducer".
Conditionalities and the threat of government regulation should the
corporate sector prove recalcitrant are the key government contribution. In the absence of such measures stakeholders and government
are left to exhort a standard of behaviour, the violation of which has no
consequences for those companies uninterested in such matters.
certain vexed issues, such as the role of businesses in conflict prevention and
the promotion of good governance, is there, and what might be an effective role
for governments, and/or alternatively, the international community?
Are there areas of policy research or specific initiatives that the government
might undertake to assist the private sector in developing appropriate CSR
mechanisms, for example, the development of a "guide for Canadian companies
operating overseas"? Could Canada's overseas missions play a role?
Canadian foreign policy presently remains
predicated on a "constructive engagement" model of peace-building and
human rights promotion. However,
there are clear instances where the presence of a corporation can exacerbate
conflict and human rights abuses. At
the end of the day, in such circumstances, the net impact of the company may
well be negative. The obvious case
in point is Talisman's project in Sudan. It is imperative that the government
devise a policy to grapple with such situations.
First, there is an urgent need for government to co-operate with civil
society and businesses in devising "human rights impact assessments"
or guidelines enumerating steps companies should take to mitigate the negative
impacts of their operations. Such
standards were articulated in the code for Canadian corporate operations in
apartheid South Africa. Similar
standards are urgently needed for other countries, including China.
Second, where companies refuse to take steps mitigating their negative
impacts, the government must have instruments that encourage appropriate
behaviour. Where the net
consequences of the company's presence are negative, instruments must exist that
oblige a company to withdraw. The
conditionalities discussed above are an important first step.
Also essential is a sanctions law that can be used to compel a company to
See Frank Bradley, "Prepare to make a moral
judgement," People Management (May
Douglass Cassel, "Corporate Initiatives: A Second Human Rights
International Law Journal 199 (1996): 1974.
[iii] The Franklin pollsters focused on major US retailers and brand name goods manufacturers. Telephone Interview with Simon Billenness, Franklin Research and Development (February 1997).
[iv] US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry and Codes Of Conduct: A Solution To The International Child Labor Problem? (1996), 370. The Department of Labor survey focused on the largest apparel manufacturers, department stores and mass merchandisers as measured by 1995 annual sales figures.
[v] Council on Economic Priorities, International Sourcing Report (March 1998).
[vii] This 1996 CLAIHR/ICHRDD survey is reported in Forcese, Commerce with Conscience? (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 1997).
[viii] In a survey of 48 companies having operations outside Canada or the United States, KPMG found that, 14.6% had policies on supplier child and forced labor practices, 25% on supplier discrimination practices and 16.7% on supplier freedom of association/collective bargaining practices. As concerned their own overseas operations, 16.7% of the companies had policies on child and forced labor, 41.7% on discrimination and 33.3% on freedom of association/collective bargaining. Some 29.2% of companies had formal policies on the "human rights status of host countries" in countries in which they operated. See KPMG, Ethics Survey.
[ix] See discussion in Lance Compa and Tashia Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing International Labor Rights through Corporate Codes of Conduct," Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 33 (1995): 674 and in Robert Liubicic, "Corporate codes of conduct and product labeling schemes: The limits and possibilities of promoting international labor rights through private initiatives," Law and Policy of International Business 30 (1998): 123, 124.
[x] See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 1997).
See comments in Compa and Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing
International Labor Rights", and those in Jeremy Lehrer, "Trading
Profits for Change," Human Rights
25 (1998): 21 and in Debora Spar, "The spotlight and the bottom
line," Foreign Affairs
(Mar/Apr 1998): 7. Similarly, codes of conduct introduced to govern business
domestic operations reflect the emergence of external pressures.
As one study examining US codes has noted, "during the period
1960 to 1994, many of the Fortune 1000 companies have voluntarily enacted
corporate codes of conduct, and...this activity coincides with the growth in
regulatory, prosecutorial, and judicial incentives for corporate
self-regulation during this period." John Ruhnka and Heidi Boerstler,
"Governmental incentives for corporate self-regulation," Journal of Business Ethics 17 (1998): 3.
[xii] In 1984, Congress added labor conditions on the extension and renewal of General System of Preferences tariff benefit to potentially eligible nations. An infringement of "internationally recognized worker rights" would remove a nation from eligibility under the system. 19 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(7). Removal of these benefits might prove highly disruptive to corporate activities if imposed on nations in which businesses have invested or from which they are sourcing. See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. For the relationship between these measures and codes, see Compa and Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing International Labor Rights": 675.
[xiii] Ibid., 674.
[xv] For a more detailed discussion of these campaigns, see Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. US surveys suggest that a sizeable majority of Americans prefer to buy from a retailer they know is not sourcing products or materials from sweatshops. See John McClain, "Government Fingers Retailers that Sell Sweatshop‑Made Clothing," Associated Press (Dec. 5, 1995): "69 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at stores on the list [of non-sweatshop using business prepared by the US Department of Labor]." See also Vivian Marino, "Garment Workers Get Attention," Associated Press (June 18, 1996): "A recent poll by Marymount University in Arlington, Va., said 84 percent of 1,008 individuals questioned would pay a dollar more for a garment that cost $20, if it were guaranteed to be made at a legitimate factory. Seventy‑eight percent would avoid shopping at stores that sell garments made in sweatshops." In Canada, a 1998 CROP survey commissioned by Toronto-based Ideation Conferences suggests that a majority of Canadians consider conditions of production when buying consumer goods. Further, a majority of Canadians are prepared to pay higher prices for ethically produced products. In fact, given a choice between two products of equivalent price, almost a 1/3 of Canadians would prefer to purchase a product made by a human rights-respecting U.S. company over a product simply produced by a Canadian company.
[xvi] See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce.
[xvii] Government of Canada, Voluntary Codes: A Guide for their Development and Use (March 1998), 8-9.
[xviii] Ibid., in preface.
[xix] Ruhnka and Boerstler, "Governmental incentives".
[xxi] US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry, 9.
[xxii] For a discussion of independent monitoring, see Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce.
[xxiii] US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry, v, 9.
[xxiv] Ibid., 101.
[xxv] Ibid., 107.
[xxvi] Of 48 companies with non-US or Canadian operations surveyed by KPMG, the following proportion of companies actively monitored their own practices: child labor (12.5%); forced labor (10.4%); freedom of association/collective bargaining (16.7%); discrimination (29.2%). The following proportion actively monitored supplier practices: child labor (14.6%); forced labor (12.5%); freedom of association/collective bargaining (6.3%); discrimination (18.8%). See KMPG, Ethics Survey.
[xxvii] Robert Liubicic, "Corporate codes of conduct and product labeling schemes: The limits and possibilities of promoting international labor rights through private initiatives," Law and Policy of International Business 30 (1998):149.
[xxviii] Richard Howitt, Report On EU Standards For European Enterprises Operating In Developing Countries, European Parliament, PE228.198/DEF.
[xxix] Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Asia in Crisis, 105.
[xxxi] Ibid., 107, citing Craig Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. On the issue of government procurement, the European Union and Japan brought a now-suspended trade complaint against the United States for a Massachusetts Burma selective purchasing law barring dealings with companies operating in Burma. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Massachusetts law is in fact violates trade law. For a recent discussion of issues surrounding the Massachusetts law, see Jennifer Loeb-Cederwall, "Restrictions on trade in Burma: Bold moves or foolish acts?" New England Law Review 32 (1998). For a discussion of selective purchasing laws at the municipal level, see Craig Forcese, "Municipal buying power and human rights in Burma: The case for Canadian municipal selective purchasing policies," University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review 56 (1998).
[xxxii] For the position of the NGO coalition working on the EDC, see Race to the Top: How to make the Export Development Corporation responsible to people and the environment, at <www.web.net/~halifax/edc/pubs/policy.htm> as of May 2000. The report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Exporting in the Canadian Interest, is at <www.parl.gc.ca/InfoComDoc/36/2/FAIT/Studies/Reports/faitrp02-e.htm>, while the government position on the issue is at <www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/english/news/development_act-e.htm>, both as of May 2000.
[xxxiii] OECD, Trade and Labour Standards, COM/DEELSA/TD(95)5 (1995), 40: "...there is some evidence that over the short-run, episodes of improvements of freedom of association can be associated with a loss of competitiveness."
[xxxiv] OECD, Trade, Employment and Labour Standards: A Study of Core Workers' Rights and International Trade, COM/DEELSA/TD(96) 8/FINAL (1996), 36, 47.
[xxxv] Ibid., 46.
[xxxvii] Ibid., 47.
[xxxix] Ibid., 49.
[xl] See United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Investment Report: Globalization, Integrated International Production And The World Economy (New York: United Nations, 1994). For a discussion of labor conditions in EPZs, see International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Behind the Wire: Anti‑Union Repression in the Export Processing Zones, at <www.icftu.org> as of February 1999.
[xli] For a discussion of these controversies, see Craig Forcese, Commerce with Conscience? (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development 1997) and Craig Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development 1997).